Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Berms and Raised Beds for Flowers

Is there a berm in your future? 

Crabapple LandscapExperts sometimes installs raised beds, also known as berms, in the properties they maintain to provide excellent growing conditions for annual color and for an optimum display of summer flower beds. Berms are simply mounded hills of soil created to enhance the overall landscape design.

Advantages of Berms, a.k.a. raised garden beds

Emphasizes a focal point (like the sales office, or pool)

Easy way to add interest and height to the landscape

Re-directs foot traffic or drainage

Creates subtle privacy by blocking unwanted views

Warms more quickly in spring

Improves drainage for plants

Prevents soil compaction

Crabapple LandscapExperts can prepare rich, amended soil tailored to the type of plants that will grow on the berm. After the initial construction, berms require less maintenance than conventional garden beds.

Crabapple LandscapExperts' Guidelines for Berms

Consider drainage in the area surrounding the proposed berm, which may redirect runoff to other areas after heavy rains

Berms are generally 18-24 inches high and typically 4 to 5 times as long as they are high

Shape mimics the natural flow or curves of the landscape

Curved berms look more natural

Slope gradually trails or spreads out onto the lawn

Berms may be created with more than one peak or ridge; off-center peaks are best –near one end rather than symmetrically in the middle

Varying height, slope and length make berms look more natural and informal

Edging can be added to stop the soil from eroding into the lawn

Microclimates on the berm: south and west facing berms are warmer; north and east facing berms are cooler

Water drains most quickly from top of berm, therefore Crabapple LandscapExperts use drought-tolerant plants at ridge; moisture-loving plants at the base of the berm

Taller plants down the backside of the berm, shorter ones at the top

Trees and shrubs may be planted on the berm

Overall mulch layer slows erosion and insulates soil temperatures

Photo credits, thanks to: Nature By Design, PCMG-Texas, Prime.PETA

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